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Author Topic: The Press and the Myths of War
Babbler # 1064

posted 08 April 2003 05:41 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In wartime the press is always part of the problem. This has been true since the Crimean War, when William Howard Russell wrote his account of the charge of the Light Brigade and invented the profession of the modern war correspondent. When the nation goes to war, the press goes to war with it. The blather on CNN or Fox or MSNBC is part of a long and sad tradition.

The narrative we are fed about war by the state, the entertainment industry and the press is a myth. And this myth is seductive. It empowers and ennobles us. It boosts rating and sells newspapers--William Randolph Hearst owed his fortune to it. It allows us to suspend individual conscience, maybe even consciousness, for the cause. And few of us are immune. Indeed, social critics who normally excoriate the established order, and who also long for acceptance and acclaim, are some of the most susceptible. It is what led a mind as great as Freud's to back, at least at its inception, the folly of World War I. The contagion of war, of the siren call of the nation, is so strong that most cannot resist.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 1204

posted 08 April 2003 08:34 PM      Profile for Trespasser   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Fabulous article, 'lance. It mentions just about every important issue that we don't hear a word about from the media these days. Like, class and the war,

We do not speak of the huge corporate interests that stand to gain even as poor young boys from Alabama, who joined the Army because this was the only way to get health insurance and a steady job, bleed to death along the Euphrates.

...the changing nature of warfare and its representation...

If we saw what wounds did to bodies, how killing is far more like butchering an animal than the clean and neat Hollywood deaths on the screen, it would turn our stomachs.

...the war as socio-psychological mechanism of belonging and fear relief...

War as myth allows us to suspend judgment and personal morality for the contagion of the crowd. War means we do not face death alone. We face it as a group. And death is easier to bear because of this.

...and finally, the fact that there is no such thing as honourable war:

I doubt the journalists filing the hollow reports from Iraq, in which there are images but rarely any content, are aware of how they are being manipulated. They, like everyone else, believe. But when they look back they will find that war is always about betrayal. It is about betrayal of the young by the old, of soldiers by politicians and of idealists by the cynical men who wield power, the ones who rarely pay the cost of war. We pay that cost.

From: maritimes | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mohamad Khan
Babbler # 1752

posted 08 April 2003 10:08 PM      Profile for Mohamad Khan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

Tres Tres Tres,
Tres Tres Tres,

From: "Glorified Harlem": Morningside Heights, NYC | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 478

posted 08 April 2003 10:30 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Return with us now to the heroic days of babble. 'lance and Trespasser ride again!
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 2230

posted 09 April 2003 01:36 AM      Profile for Mycroft_     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Know Thine Enemy
Seems not a few Americans relying on cable news for their information are under the impression that the US is at war with France.
I have seen various online petitions from people complaining about the media coverage of the war and there are ritual denunciations of the media at all anti-war rallies. The complaints seem to be directed not at the journalists in the field, who are doing a conscientious and brave job, but at the editorialising of the studio-based hosts and "experts".

Chief complaints centre on the ommission of mention of civilian casualties and the derogatory treatment of the anti-war movement.

Before the war started, I met Ron Kovic at a rally in San Francisco. He is the anti-Vietnam war veteran on whom the film Born on the Fourth of July was based. He must be busy, I suggested, doing the rounds of the television talk shows. He was, after all, a national figure. Not at all, he said, virtually no-one would give him the time of day.

But this is war. What do we expect?

Fox News, for instance, which pulls in a larger audience now that CNN, is owned by Rupert Murdoch and makes no great secret of its conservative bias. The station's slogan, "fair and balanced", is meant as a knowing joke and not to be taken seriously; I have seen enough "Faux News" T-shirts in the Fox News logo to realise that most people are in on the joke.

Equally, Clear Channel Communications, which owns 1200 radio stations, has been leading the charge by publicising pro-war rallies. It was Clear who, after September 11, advised their stations not to play certain deviant records - such as Imagine, for instance.

Critics of Clear suggest that the gung-ho support will not be unhelpful at a time when the federal communications commission is considering whether to regulate the number of stations one company can own. It may be depressing that one company owns so many stations - six times the number of its nearest rival - but it cannot be a surprise what they do with that power.

One of the great long-running myths here is that of a "liberal bias" in the media, a fantasy propagated by a number of undertravelled commentators who haven't bothered to look up the word in the dictionary. The lesson of the war has been to prove that myth even more laughable and also to show that, if you want to know what is going on, you certainly cannot rely on one source.

From: Toronto | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 19 October 2008 12:22 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Editor’s Note: This year, the U.S. news media cheered the opening of the $450 million Newseum in Washington, a self-congratulatory celebration of American journalism.

However, rather than giving themselves that expensive pat on the back, the major U.S. media organizations might have done something to show remorse for their complicity in the Bush administration’s propaganda that justified the invasion of Iraq.

As freelance journalist Peter Dyer notes, prosecutors at the Nuremberg Tribunals deemed such journalistic support for war crimes to be a capital offense:

October 16 is an anniversary that should hold considerable interest for American journalists who have written in support of ”Operation Iraqi Freedom” – the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Sixty-two years ago, on Oct. 16, 1946, Julius Streicher was hanged.

Streicher was one of a group of 10 Germans executed that day following the judgment of the first Nuremberg Trial – a 40-week trial of 22 of the most prominent Nazis.

Each was tried for two or more of the four crimes defined in the Nuremberg Charter: crimes against peace (aggression), war crimes, crimes against humanity, and conspiracy.

All who were sentenced to death were major German government officials or military leaders. Except for Streicher.

Julius Streicher was a journalist....

Read more

[ 19 October 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged

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